Featured Bizarre Love Triangle

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by nicholasz219, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    Well, Bizarre Love Tetrarchy never made the charts, so you get what you get. Also, there is what could be a triangle involved, but that comes down the post.

    I was doing a little wandering outside of my usual areas this last month and found some interesting coins and thought I would share them with you. Like I mentioned before, I do have a thing for collecting LRB's by series/mintmark/officina details. Which is another way of saying, "I like to hoard Late Roman Bronze coins." But whatever. The coins in this post are all from about the same one hundred year period, from the Tetrarchy to Arcadius.

    During this period you see some changes in the coinage which I think prompt most people to say, "Great. More LRBs." The portraits of the emperors become stylized so much as to become generic. The content of the coins both in terms of metallic value and design variety becomes very disappointing when compared to the choices in designs and artistic quality of the earlier Empire. With the family of Constantine, hesitance to use a portrait with a diademed head (considered a hallmark of Eastern style rulers, it was avoided while some trappings of the Republic were still maintained in theory if not in political reality) falls away and becomes a standard on LRB. Most mints are producing the same type of coins you have seen so many times at shows and on eBay. GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, GLORIA EXERCITVS, SOLI INVICTO COMITI, IOVI CONSERVATORI.

    This first coin is one of the above. An issue of Galerius, this coin is attractive to me because it is still a large size (27.0mm) follis, so a nice chunk of bronze. While the portrait also looks similar to Licinius for example, it still is recognizable as a representation of a living human. At $6, it is a nice coin with significant size and detail. Also, I just do not have a lot of Galerius, so I take the chance to own a nice coin at a cheap price.

    6259 6260-1.jpg

    Galerius, Follis, GENIO POPVLI ROMANI
    AE Follis
    Caesar: 293 - 305AD
    Augustus: March 1, 205 - May 5, 311AD
    Issued: 300 - 301AD
    27.0mm 9.60gr 6h
    O: GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES; Laureate head, right.
    R: GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI; Genius standing left, modius on head, chlamys over shoulder, holding patera and cornucopiae.
    Exergue: (Dot) TSA (Dot)
    Thessalonica Mint
    RIC VI Thessalonica 22b, A.
    Aorta: B18, O13, R42, T43, M14.

    Moving on to Constantine, you start to see the changes which most people find boring. The coinage reform of Diocletian brings a reduced size follis. Portraits start to look the same, regardless of ruler. But! There are things to be interested in if you look closely.

    The helmeted portraits of Constantine are my favorite bust type. There are many variations on the helmeted busts including type of helmet, type of helmet decoration, style of plume at the top, ear covers (!), etc. This example is no different, with a striking portrait of Constantine. The reverse has its fun details too. I enjoy the LAETAE series because I think I like the iconography of the two Victories holding the shield. What is interesting to find it that there are something like 7 or 8 altar types for this mint alone. I posted another coin in my recent Tetrarchy thread with a diamond pattern on the altar. This coin's altar displays a star.

    6313 6314.jpg

    Constantine I, Follis, VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
    AE Follis
    Constantine I
    Caesar: 306 - 307AD
    Augustus: 307 - 337AD
    Issued: 318 - 319AD
    20.5 x 18.0mm 3.10gr 6h
    O: IMP CONSTAN-TINVS MAX AVG; Laureate, helmeted, cuirassed bust, right.
    R: VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP; Two victories standing, facing each other, placing shield inscribed with VOT/PR on altar decorated with a star.
    Exergue: TT
    Ticinum Mint
    RIC VII Ticinum 82; Rarity R1
    Aorta: 1192: B43, O55, R221, T235, M18.

    For reference, here is the other coin with different altar design I just mentioned:

    6235 6236.jpg

    Constantine I, Follis, VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
    AE Follis
    Constantine I
    Caesar: 306 - 307AD
    Augustus: 307 - 337AD
    Issued: 319AD
    19.0 x 18.5mm 2.50gr 0h
    O: IMP CONSTAN-TINVS AVG; High crested-helmeted, cuirassed bust left, holding spear over shoulder. Two stars in helmet fields; three dots from helmet crown to temple.
    R: VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP; Two Victories standing facing each other, together holding shield reading VOT/PR on altar with diamond and five dots pattern.
    Exergue: TARL, below line.
    Arles Mint
    RIC VII Arles 195; Sear (200) 16299.
    Aorta: 855: B24, O53, R221, T235, M4.

    My second new coin of Constantine is interesting because of a relatively small detail. It is the officinal mark. The coin is not the prettiest, but everything is legible. The officinal mark in the center of the letter sequence under the wreath is legible but unintelligible unless you know what you are looking for basically. It reads, R (ligate, in Greek) eros P. "ερωσ," is transliterated as "eros" which translated into Latin is "amor," or "love" when translated again into English. More importantly, "Amor" is "Roma" spelled backwards. Romans had an interest in palindromes and this was the unutterable secret name of Rome, hidden in ligate Greek on their coins.
    I am not certain why this would have been chosen as a officinal mark without making guesses that are not supported in fact. The marks are found across the coinages of all of the issues during 320-321AD. Was it a silent protest for those in the know concerning Constantine's embrace of Christianity? Who knows. Interesting none the less.

    6297 6298.jpg

    Constantine I, Follis, DN CONSTANTINI MAX AVG
    AE Follis
    Constantine I
    Caesar: 306 - 307AD
    Augustus: 307 - 337AD
    Issued: 320 - 321AD
    19.0mm 2.00gr 0h
    O: CONSTA-NTINVS AVG; Laureate head, right.
    R: DN CONSTANTINI MAX AVG; Wreath, VOT/(Dot)/XX, within.
    Exergue: RερωσP
    Rome Mint
    Rarity R3
    RIC VII Rome 225
    Aorta: 1358: B59, O4, R46, T300, M13.

    Finally, as we move to the end of the fourth century, we come to Emperor Valens. As you can see by this common but nice LRB, the stylization of portraiture and standardization of legend types are in full swing.

    6307 6308.jpg

    Augustus: March 28, 364 - August 9, 378AD
    Issued: February 25, 364 - August 24, 367AD
    18.5mm 2.50gr 0h
    O: DN VALEN-S PF AVG; Diademed (pearls), draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    R: GLORIA RO-MANORVM; Valens advancing right, dragging captive and holding labarum.
    Exergue: SMKΔ
    RIC IX Cyzicus 8b
    Aorta: 508: B4, O7, R8, T15, M6.

    And finally, the triangle. Arcadius, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, was named emperor as a boy and co ruled with his father Theodosius I and brother Honorius. This arrangement was denoted on coins of the emperors by adjusting the ending of the abbreviation for augustus on coins from AVG to AVGGG. These coins, while not terribly rare, are usually not struck well or are heavily circulated. Here is an example of CONCORDIA AVGGG which is neither of those things.

    6309 6310.jpg

    Arcadius, AE3, CONCORDIA AVGGG
    Augustus: January 19, 383 - May 1, 408AD
    Issued: August 9, 378 - August 25, 383AD
    18.5 x 17.5mm 1.90gr 7h
    O: DN ARCADIVS PF AVG; Diademed (pearls), draped and cuirassed small bust, right.
    R: CONCOR-DIA AVGGG; Constantinopolis enthroned facing, head right, holding long scepter and globe; prow under right foot.
    Exergue: (Palm branch), angled left, left field; ligate HN, right field; SMNA, below.
    Nicomedia Mint
    Rated R4
    RIC IX Nicomedia 31c

    Thanks for reading. Hope you are still awake at this point, haha.

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  3. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great set of coins nicholasz219, such a big field to choose from in that time of history.
    Most of my coins are earlier, but have this Constantine from London to share. Constantine camp gate.jpg
  4. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Cool additions
    nicholasz219 likes this.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Well, you have to admit Constantine I ushered in a New Order.

    It doesn't have the coveted RερωσP mintmark, but here's mine:

    New Order.jpg
    Constantine I, AD 307-337
    Roman Æ Centenionalis; 2.59 g, 18.4 mm
    Aquileia, AD 321
    Rev: D N CONSTANTINI MAX AVG, laurel wreath around VOT XX; ·AQ · below.
    Refs: RIC vii, p. 404, no. 85; RCV 16216; Cohen 123.
    Note: the officina mark, which should follow the AQ of the Aquileia mintmark, is absent, likely due to a filled die.
    TIF, dlhill132, Curtisimo and 6 others like this.
  6. Ryro

    Ryro Change your thoughts. Change the world. Supporter

    Fun coins! Thanks for the post.
    Here's a bizarre love triangle for ya...even if it was just a fabrication by a woman trying to get her son's in power..
    In 326, Crispus' life came to a sudden end: on his father's orders he was condemned to death and executed. Soon afterwards, Constantine had his own wife, Fausta, killed; she was drowned in an over-heated bath.
    Whatever truly happened has been lost to time. Whether Fausta made up a story of rape by Crispus, a love affair was found out or Constantine was just jealous of his son's military success and admiration of the troops, one thing is certain, Constantine knew how to murder loved ones as well as enemies!
    CollageMaker Plus_201846154729432.png
    Crispus...more like headlus

    CollageMaker Plus_20184615460238.png
    Fausta...more like Boileda!

    CollageMaker Plus_201845201529246.png
    Constantine the...Irate!:yack:
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    TIF, dlhill132, Curtisimo and 8 others like this.
  7. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    @Ancient Aussie That is a great issue of London. The patina is very attractive and adds to the coin.

    @Roman Collector Hahaha, you are a man after my own heart! Neat coin. The missing officina mark is interesting.

    @Ryro Yes, the version that I am most familiar with was that Fausta accused Crispus (son of Constantine's first wife) of rape and Constantine had Crispus executed. Fausta did this to clear out the way for her own sons to move up in the succession order. When it was discovered that the accusation of rape was false, Constantine had Fausta boiled to death in an overheated bath.
    galba68 and Ryro like this.
  8. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    A wonderful presentation of how LRBs (late Roman bronzes) can be truly fascinating! I especially love your eros-amor mintmark.

    Here's a follis of Galerius as Caesar which, like yours, has a more realistic portrait:
    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 1.58.17 PM.jpg
    Trier, issued 300-301

    And a few other fun/interesting LRBs...

    Rare issue of Domitius Domitianus in the name of Constantius I (Alexandria), father of Constantine the Great:
    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 1.57.50 PM.jpg
    (For those coming from outside the Ancients board to this post: many of these LRBs were originally silvered; the silvering is still present on this coin.)

    Diocletian abdication issue:
    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 1.59.25 PM.jpg

    One of the last numismatic depictions of one of the old pagan gods (Mars in this case):
    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 2.00.45 PM.jpg
    Constantine the Great, Trier, issued 307-308

    Head on a platter!
    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 2.01.00 PM.jpg
    Maximinus II as Augustus, Alexandria, 308-313

    Here's a helmeted Licinius to go with your Constantines:
    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 2.02.14 PM.jpg
    Rome 318-19, rare

    One of the earliest Christian symbols on a coin, the chi-rho on Crispus's shield:
    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 2.34.27 PM.jpg
    Trier, 322-23, extremely rare

    And finally, jumping to the early 5th century, an issue from Rome celebrating the city's luck (VRBS ROMA FELIX). Its luck would not last much longer: it was about to be sacked for the first time in 800 years, by the Visigoths. :hurting:
    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 2.36.50 PM.jpg
    Arcadius or Honorius, issued 404-408, Rome mint.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
    TIF, dadams, Ryro and 6 others like this.
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    RI Galerius 293-308 AE30mm Folles Ticinum mint Moneta 12g.jpg
    RI Galerius 293-308 AE30mm Folles Ticinum mint Moneta 12g

    Constantine I
    RI Constantine I Folles 306-337 CE Captives VOTA Banner.jpg
    RI Constantine I Folles 306-337 CE Captives VOTA Banner

    RI Valens AD 364-378 AE Red Follis Siscia Mint.jpg
    RI Valens AD 364-378 AE Red Follis Siscia Mint

    RI Arcadius AE2 383-408 CE Emp stdg Standard and Globe.jpg
    RI Arcadius AE2 383-408 CE Emp stdg Standard and Globe

    RI Honorius 393-343 AE3 15mm Arcadius and Honorius Stdg.jpg
    RI Honorius 393-343 AE3 15mm Arcadius and Honorius Stdg

    Aelia Eudoxia
    RI Aelia Eudoxia wife of Arcadius 395-401 CE AE3 2.83g 17mm crowned by hand of God Enthroned Constan mint RIC 79

    RI Crispus 317-326 CE AE Folles Caesar in Trier Campgate - Heraclea mint.jpg
    RI Crispus 317-326 CE AE Folles Caesar in Trier Campgate - Heraclea mint

    RI Fausta 325-326 CE AE3 Spes stdg 2 infants SMHA 20mm 3.48g scratch over eye damnatio memoriae by Constantine

    Maximinus II Daia
    RI Maximinus II Daia 305-308 CE Folles AE30 Trier mint Genius-Serapis stndg.jpg
    RI Maximinus II Daia 305-308 CE Folles AE30 Trier mint Genius-Serapis stndg

    RI Licinius I 308-324 CE AE3 Jupiter w Eagle.jpg
    RI Licinius I 308-324 CE AE3 Jupiter w Eagle
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  10. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Licinius II
    RI Licinius II 317-324 CE Folles Jupiter w Eagle sinister left Antioch.jpg
    RI Licinius II 317-324 CE Folles Jupiter w Eagle sinister left Antioch


    RI Diocletian Ӕ Quinarius 1.46g 16mm Rome AD 284-305 IOVI CONSERVAT AVGG, Jupiter stndng thunderbolt sceptre RARE RIC 193

    Domitius Domitianus @Severus Alexander has mine... :D

    Constantine II
    RI Constantine II 337-340 CE AE3 GLORIA EXERCITVS Glory to the Army 2 Soldiers 2 Standards.jpg
    RI Constantine II 337-340 CE AE3 GLORIA EXERCITVS Glory to the Army 2 Soldiers 2 Standards

    Constatius I Chlorus
    RI Constantius I Chlorus 293-306 CE DIVO AE Quinarius Thesalonika 317-318 Seated RIC VII 25 R5 RARE
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
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  11. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    @Severus Alexander and @Alegandron Wow, both excellent and diverse groups of coins! Too many to really pick out winners even though the silvered Constantius Chlorus, the Diocletian abdication and super plumes of Constantine I are all up there.
  12. Victor_Clark


    Your coin is Constantine II. It's easy to tell because Constantine I did not use the obverse legend of P F AVG. He had the obverse legend of MAX AVG on Siscian GE's. Somewhat confusingly, Constantine II also used the same legend for a time after the death of his father, but that is not an issue this time.

    These Siscia GE with a Chi-Rho must also be Constantine II as there are not any coins for him as Caesar, meaning Constantine I is dead and Constantine II has been promoted to Augustus, along with his brothers, who are all represented in this issue as Augusti also.
    dlhill132, Ryro and nicholasz219 like this.
  13. Ryro

    Ryro Change your thoughts. Change the world. Supporter

    Thanks! That's great news. My other con-man the 2nd is really ug. (I edited it and switched it to a much more murderous Con-er Mctantine).
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